- The order was given after the presiding judge was informed by the EFCC counsel, that an earlier order to publish the forfeiture had been obeyed, and no interested parties had come forward to object
- The EFCC counsel noted how the former minister had paid $37.5m in cash to buy the property in 2013 when she was still a serving minister, referring to it as a suspicious activity
- Justice Chuka Obiozor, the presiding judge, subsequently granted the prayers of the anti-graft commission, in light of the argument of its counsel
A $37.5m Banana Island mansion linked to Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former minister of petroleum resources, is to be permanently forfeited to the federal government, on the orders of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Punch reports.
In the same vein, the court also ordered that sums of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70 realized as rents on the property should be forfeited to the government.
Following the motion argued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the order was subsequently given by Justice Chuka Obiozor, on Monday August 7.
Justice Obiozor had been informed by Anselem Ozioko, counsel for the EFCC, that the commission had complied with an order given by the court that the forfeiture be published in a newspaper; after which, anyone who had an interest in the said property and funds would appear before the court to state reasons why it should not be handed over to the government.
Oziokro noted that the forfeiture order was not contested by the second and third respondent in the case- Afamefuna Nwokedi, and a company called Rusimpex Limited- despite efforts made by the commission.
Urging the judge to go ahead and order a permanent forfeiture, the EFCC counsel stated: “In summary, it appears as if they are not willing to contest this application.”
The judge subsequently responded: “In the face of the publication which I find in Exhibit B of the affidavit of compliance before me, and there being no responses from any interested party, I have no other option but to grant the orders as prayed.”
Arguing his case before judgement was delivered, the EFCC counsel had earlier told the judge that the former minister had acquired the property with proceeds of unlawful activities.
He disclosed how that investigations made by the commission had revealed that Madueke had paid the sum of $37.5m in cash, when she purchased the porperty in 2013.
The money was reportedly moved straight from Diezani’s Abuja house, to the First Bank account of the seller.
Ozioko stated: “Nothing could be more suspicious than someone keeping such huge amounts in her apartment.
“Why was she doing that? To avoid attention?
“We are convinced beyond reasonable doubt because as of the time this happened, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke was still in public service as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.”
The property designated as Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate, is said to contain 24 apartments, 18 flats and 6 penthouses.
Recall that NAIJ.com previously reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) announced the discovery of a property in Lagos worth a whopping $37.5million totaling N11.75bn allegedly belonging to former oil minister Alison Diezani-Madueke.
The EFCC said Diezani reportedly bought the building in Lagos’ top class location Banana Island, between 2011 and 2012 at a total cost of $37.5m from the YF Construction Development and Real Estate.
Watch this NAIJ.com TV video of a man calling for mass burial for all Nigerian leaders: